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Choosing one of our best VPN services in 2020 will give you extra privacy when surfing online. For those who don’t know, the goal here is to prevent people from seeing what you’re doing on the Internet and to stop malicious access to your personal information when using public Wi-Fi – a VPN will “hide” all of these details.

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This week, Mozilla released the beta version of its Firefox VPN app for Android, which promises to hide all personal details, activities and locations from those who want to pry. It will be available in over 30 countries, but current invitations to the beta are only being sent to those who are US-based on the waiting list.

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Keeping your personal information private is increasingly important because when you use unsecured public Internet access, you allow the provider of this service to see what you are doing online, and in some cases, sensitive information may be visible to them. At least Starbucks Wi-Fi gives the company a way to profile customers.

You don’t have to be paranoid to feel concerned about it. And with so much personal information being exchanged online these days, it makes sense to try to protect that data from prying eyes.

We’ve taken a look at more than 10 VPN services and whittled them down to find the very best. We’ve run speed tests on each of our final picks, accessing both BBC iPlayer and Netflix (both UK and US services). Here are the best VPN services that made the cut.

There’s a lot to like about SurfShark. It felt faster than many other VPNs when it came to loading content on iPlayer and Netflix. Both of these services also worked fine on the UK IP address – which is good. Additionally, Netflix US worked when a US server was selected. The speed test was also good, delivering some of the faster VPN speeds we saw.

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Nord delivered some truly impressive speeds. Although we weren’t quite at the broadband maximum, we saw 105 Mbps reported, one of the faster VPNs in this round-up. Like PureVPN, there are a number of modes to speed up certain services and provide more protection if you need it. We like that and the app is easy to use.

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Netflix works on the UK VPN gateways. We were also able to use the American Netflix service. BBC’s iPlayer also worked fine on the Northern UK servers, but obviously won’t work on non-UK outlets due to license fee rules.

There’s a lot to like about Windscribe. If you’re on a budget, the free 10GB service offers a useful way to protect data e.g. a laptop when you are in coffee houses or on public Wi-Fi outside. Our tests revealed that Netflix UK would not allow us to steam from the UK servers, but iPlayer worked fine. American Netflix had the same problem on the free service.

However, Windscribe also includes, in its paid version, a Netflix streaming server that allows connections to both UK and US services. We tested both, it worked like a charm. There is even a Japanese Windflex server if that interests you.

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When connecting to a UK outlet, Netflix UK reported an error, which sometimes happens with VPNs. Similarly, we were also unable to access US streaming on Netflix. On UK servers iPlayer also refused to play. Express VPN’s speed wasn’t the best in our tests either, running at about half the download speed of our line’s maximum. It’s far from the worst result, though, and Express is generally pretty decent. However, Express is the second most expensive VPN we tested.

Vypr was certainly not the fastest, as our 200mbps connection dropped to 54mbps in the first test using a UK server. But the company was able to stream from Netflix, meaning it hasn’t been blacklisted for being a VPN provider. In our testing, we were also able to connect to US Netflix and play titles. BBC iPlayer didn’t work though, even on UK servers. One thing to note, the cheapest Vypr service doesn’t promise you’ll be able to use streaming services, you need its £9.25 per month service for that (this is still good value though).

Air is a really solid all-round performer. However, it doesn’t have the same design ethic as other VPNs, so it’s more complicated to use. There are apps for phones, but they are a bit more difficult to use. The same goes for the desktop app, but speeds were reasonably good and it’s very affordable. BBC’s iPlayer works fine on UK outlets, US Netflix also works on US IP addresses which is handy. However, we had some issues using the UK netflix on AirVPN, sometimes it wouldn’t show up at all in a browser, and sometimes we got the US version.

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Strong gave us access to both BBC iPlayer and Netflix UK without issue. We were also able to access the US version of Netflix without issue using the company’s US-based servers. The speeds on the service weren’t the best we’ve seen, but they weren’t the worst either. Practically speaking, though it’s fast enough for most uses.

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Netflix UK worked fine on the Goose, but we had trouble accessing BBC iPlayer even when we switched to the streaming server provided by the company. We also had no problems accessing the US version of Netflix. Goose is also the fastest VPN we’ve tested, and while it didn’t hit our connection’s top speed, it’s certainly nimble enough.

BBC iPlayer was not working on the PIA UK server. However, both Netflix UK and US (on a US server) streamed video with no problems at all. In our tests, PIA was one of the slower VPNs in the speed test, but using the service was just fine without any major issues.

On the UK servers Netflix refused to play and so did iPlayer. Confusingly, Netflix US worked fine – although this is not unexpected, it just means that the company does not recognize the Pure IP address in the States as belonging to a VPN company.

Air is a really solid all-round performer. BBC’s iPlayer works fine on UK outlets, US Netflix also works on US IP addresses which is handy.

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AirVPN is the cheapest VPN we’ve tested, but it also scores well for speed. It’s not the easiest to use, but there are simple Windows and Mac apps that offer a wide range of international speeds in lots of geographies. We also had some minor issues accessing Netflix UK on the service, but this isn’t the end of the world.

There’s a lot to like about SurfShark. It felt faster than many other VPNs when it came to loading content on iPlayer and Netflix.

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Surfshark is actually a bit of a random pick for the best VPN, but when it comes to speed, it’s above average, and it’s also not the most expensive VPN on our list. It’s a solid all-round choice, and it feels faster and less laggy than others on test. It also works well with iPlayer and Netflix (both US and UK services).

What we learned during this test is that no VPN can really push your broadband speed. Most were running at about half what the connection was capable of and some even slower. In the real world, everyone was fast enough to stream 4K video.

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We also discovered support for iPlayer and Netflix is ​​not automatic. For some people, this won’t be a problem, but if you plan to use a VPN for all your internet access, you’ll want to take this into account. We tested each VPN here and the results are below. This wouldn’t be enough for us to fault a VPN, but if that’s what you’re hoping to do, this will sway your decision.

The prices were also a very mixed bag. The most expensive is Goose at $16.88 (£12.99) and the cheapest was AirVPN at $7.85 (£6.04). The Goose was also the fastest in our test (but peak times took a toll on speeds), while the Air also performed very well with impressive speeds for its low price point.

Ian Morris is a technology writer with 12 years of experience in almost every aspect of the industry. A broadband geek and privacy advocate means he’s keen to ensure everyone can stay safe online and protect their online habits.

We want a VPN that can run at the maximum speed of our broadband connection. Ideally, anyway. This is harder than you might think because broadband can run at 4mbps or 200mbps. Some services may struggle at the high end, but may be fine for most users.

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Of course, without testing it is difficult to know which products offer the full speed. We used one of the fastest home broadband connections to try and push each VPN to its limits.

Which VPNs are user-friendly? That matters too. However

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